June 19, 2024

Pick 6 Plays for $300k mandatory payout at Downs After Dark

Neon Nights is the theme of Saturday's Downs After Dark program
Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

Saturday’s Downs After Dark program at Churchill Downs features a mandatory $300,000 payout in the Single 6 Jackpot. A 20-cent minimum, the Pick 6 will be offered on races 4-9 and here are my thoughts on the sequence:

Race 4

Divine Desire (#5) overcame a poor start to just miss at Keeneland, registering an 86 BRIS Speed rating that is tied for the top last-out number, and the lightly-raced 5yo gained valuable fitness in the first start since December. He shows a series of swift 5f works in preparation and could be poised for a career-best in this spot.

Forze Mau (#1) invades from Gulfstream off an encouraging performance; Mutajaded (#4) exits a couple of sharp efforts at Oaklawn; Nuclear Option (#6) returns to his favorite track (3-2-0-1 at CD) and could be a major factor on front end; and King Abner (#7) looks poised to show more after a less-than-favorable trip from the rail post last time.

Race 5

Holy Fort (#5) switches from dirt to turf and her young sire, Fort Larned, has already thrown some turf winners. Her half-sister, Canadian champion Holy Helena, proved much better on turf/synthetics and Holy Fort appears to be training forwardly for Ian Wilkes, who wins at a 14% clip off the extended layoff and is enjoying another fine meet at Churchill Downs. I’m expecting a strong performance off the shelf from Holy Fort.

Awe Emma (#1), a $2 million War Front fully out of the Grade 1-winning Awesome Maria, merits respect in her career debut for Steve Asmussen and Paschinko (#4) adds blinkers and looks capable of an improved showing in her second U.S. start for Brad Cox.

Race 6

In a six-horse field with no pace, Hollywood Handsome (#2) may be showing the way from his inside post on a glacial pace. He didn’t fire over a track with plenty of moisture on Derby Day but posted a nice win at Churchill Downs last year and looks capable of receiving an ideal trip today.

Big Dollar Bill (#3) and Irish Freedom (#4) are capable of challenging with their best.

Race 7

There’s no standout in this 7f maiden test. Glitznglamour (#4) has run the fastest races and would be a popular winner at short odds, but I’m not a fan of backing short-priced horses who have lost ground in the stretch in consecutive starts. She’ll be on my Single 6 ticket but I’m giving a slight edge to Compliment (#2), who will make her first start for Brendan Walsh after a 232-day rest.

Group 3-placed in Dubai last year, Compliment did not fire in a pair of California starts last fall but I won’t hold it against her; horses sometimes need more time to acclimate to North America after shipping thousands of miles. She appears to be training superbly for her return and Brendan Walsh wins at a 25% clip with horses transferring into his barn. Compliment displayed decent tactical speed overseas and the 4yo miss looks very intriguing in this weak spot with Julien Leparoux.

Thesweetsttaboo (#3), a rallying third first-time out 20 days ago, will also be used for Single 6 purposes.

Race 8

No strong opinion in this competitive turf maiden for fillies and mares. Bridaled Temper (#4) gets the call after a tough trip from post 11 against a salty field on Oaks Day. War Front filly recorded a pair of encouraging seconds last fall at Saratoga and Kentucky Downs and Mark Casse trainee probably needed the race after almost eight months off. A much-improved effort appears possible and she’s listed at an attractive 8-1 on the morning line.

Don’t Stop Maria (#1), Beau Belle (#2), Flat Meadow (#3), Love Thy Kitten (#6) and Victory Garden (#7) can’t be dismissed from win consideration.

Race 9

The removal of Solomini (1a) significantly changes the complexion of the race and he’s one of five scratches, leaving a field of 7 sophomores for the entry-level allowance.

Mr Freeze (#4) has plenty of upside for Dale Romans following a sharp maiden tally at Keeneland. By To Honor and Serve, the chestnut colt was flattered when runner-up Fort Peck came back to crush maiden foes last time and Mr Freeze has trained forwardly at Churchill Downs in preparation according to reports. Mr Freeze will be forwardly placed from his inside post and rates as my strongest opinion in the sequence.

Mississippi (#1) didn’t fire over a sloppy track in the Pat Day Mile (G3) but may appreciate the return to fast conditions and drop in company. Last-out maiden scorers Fort Peck (#5) and Limition (#7) are interesting.

Wagering Strategy

Mr Freeze is key to the main ticket and a narrower approach will be employed on a back-up ticket utilizing three other runners in the finale.

Here are the tickets I will be playing:

1,4,5,6,7 with 1,4,5 with 2,3,4 with 2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,6,7 with 4 ($162)

5,6 with 1,4,5 with 2,4 with 2,3,4 with 2,4,7 with 1,5,7 ($64.80)

Total = $226.80

For those looking for a recommendation on a smaller budget, the $43.20 ticket below focuses upon my stronger opinions:

1,5,6 with 1,4,5 with 2,4 with 2,3,4 with 2,4,6,7 with 4 ($43.20)

Good luck playing the Single 6!

Visit https://www.brisnet.com/product/tracks/USA/TB/CD/2018-06-02 for handicapping reports on the Dawns After Dark card